Monday, June 02, 2008

Chess Lesson in the Park

[Photo description: In a grassy park on a sunny day, shaded by trees, a man in an orange shirt is teaching a chess lesson to a small group of children--other adults and children are standing nearby.]

All the best things happen at the accessible playground, right? Saturday at Aidan's Place in Westwood, young volunteers from Chess Tutors (a division of People Making Progress) were there to teach a free basic lesson to anyone who would listen, of any age or ability. (My son is the fluffy-haired kid on the hip of one of the tutors, Neisha, at left. I think she's Neisha Ellington, who is also a local unsigned hip-hop artist. She danced him through the songs.)

They taught some of the history of chess and rap-like chants, some of them in Spanish, to remember how to set up the board, what each piece can do, all that. It's hard to see, but they brought a large-scale chess set for demonstrating--each piece is about the same height as a seated child, but light enough for a child to lift or push into place; and a hanging banner showing the chessboard, with clear pockets for moving the pieces (on cards) around. They did a nice job with making chess interesting, using various media and models, to meet a very diverse group of kids wherever they were.


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